Senator Murray on Defeat of Inadequate GOP Policing Bill

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) issued the following statement after voting against today’s motion to proceed to consideration of Senate Republicans’ unsubstantial policing legislation, the JUSTICE Act. The vote failed by a margin of 55 to 45.   

“Black communities and all of those crying out for real change deserve real solutions from their government. Anything less is unacceptable. Now that it’s clear the Republican bill has no path forward, Republicans who truly want more accountability and justice in our laws and in law enforcement should begin working with Democrats on meaningful, long-overdue changes like those outlined in the Justice in Policing Act.” 

Senator Murray, Assistant Democratic Leader in the Senate and the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has been outspoken on the need for structural change to end police brutality and systemic racism in the United States in the wake of nationwide protests following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Manuel Ellis and other unarmed Black people, including at the hands of law enforcement, and has called for independent investigations into these three murders. A proud co-sponsor of the Justice in Policing Act, Senator Murray previously outlined her opposition to the Republican policing proposal and urged Senate Majority Leader McConnell to pursue a more constructive bipartisan approach, citing the GOP bill’s lack of meaningful provisions like those in the Justice in Policing Act to help ensure accountability in law enforcement, including: a national ban on chokeholds and other police tactics, like no-knock warrants, that kill Black people; a mandatory national registry of police misconduct to prevent violators from moving between districts; no efforts to limit or reverse the militarization of local police forces; and notably, no repeal of the qualified immunity doctrine, which civil rights and policing advocates have long identified as a key legal barrier to holding police accountable when they violate individuals’ Constitutional rights.